Creighton used a late first-half run as a springboard to a 68-56 win over Wichita State Sunday in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams.


Creighton used a late first-half run as a springboard to a 68-56 win over Wichita State Sunday in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams.

Playing in front of a record crowd of 17,954, the Bluejays (11-2, 1-0) scored the final seven points before intermission on the way to their eighth straight victory. The game featured seven ties and eight lead changes in the first 19 minutes.

Booker Woodfox, who led the Jays with 16 points, followed Kenton Walker’s game-tying basket with a 3-pointer to put Creighton on top for good at 31-28 with 1:05 left in the opening half. Josh Dotzler gave the Jays a five-point lead at the break, 33-28, with a steal and layup at the first-half buzzer.

“We were just letting them dictate things offensively,” Dotzler said. “And in order for us to beat a good team, we have to dictate things on the defensive end. We started to get a little more pressure on them. And when shots fall, it seems like you get a little more energy.”

Creighton extended its lead throughout the second half while outrebounding the Shockers, the top rebounding team in the MVC, after the intermission. Wichita State (6-6, 0-1) held a 21-13 advantage on the glass at the break before being outboarded 19-17 in the final 20 minutes as the Jays pulled away.

“We were in a little trouble there in the first half because they were beating us on the boards,” Creighton coach Dana Altman said. “They’re a physical team, and we’re not. We’ve got to make some adjustments when we play them.”

A drive by Dotzler with 11:24 to play gave the Jays their first double-digit lead at 49-39. It eventually reached 16 on a 3-pointer by Justin Carter, his first of the year, with 2:05 left.

The Shockers got 14 second-half points from Toure’ Murry, yet couldn’t hang with Creighton after halftime. Clevin Hannah scored 11 of his game-high 17 points in the opening half and gave Wichita State its final lead on a pair of free throws with 2:31 left in the first half.

Walker tied the game for the Jays less than a minute later to start Creighton’s late first-half flurry.

“We kept it close for about 19 minutes,” Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said. “Then they made several plays in the first half that gave them that five-point lead. And they just steadily built it in the second half.”

WICHITA ST. (6-6) — Clemente 0-4 1-2 1, Hawkins 3-6 3-4 9, Durley 1-6 0-0 2, Hannah 7-13 2-2 17, Murry 6-12 1-2 16, Ellis 0-2 0-2 0, Hatch 0-2 0-0 0, Chamberlain 2-7 0-0 5, Griskenas 0-1 2-2 2, Stutz 2-7 0-0 4. Totals 21-60 9-14 56.

CREIGHTON (11-2) — Carter 4-8 2-3 11, Lawson Jr. 1-3 0-0 2, Stinnett 3-6 2-4 8, Dotzler 2-5 2-2 6, Woodfox 6-9 2-2 16, Witter 2-9 4-4 9, Millard 0-1 0-0 0, Korver 1-1 0-0 3, Harriman 1-3 2-2 5, Walker 3-5 2-2 8. Totals 23-50 16-19 68.

Halftime—Creighton 33-28. 3-Point Goals—Wichita St. 5-20 (Murry 3-6, Hannah 1-4, Chamberlain 1-5, Griskenas 0-1, Ellis 0-1, Durley 0-1, Hawkins 0-1, Hatch 0-1), Creighton 6-16 (Woodfox 2-4, Korver 1-1, Witter 1-2, Harriman 1-3, Carter 1-4, Stinnett 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Wichita St. 38 (Durley 8), Creighton 32 (Carter 7). Assists—Wichita St. 11 (Hannah 5), Creighton 16 (Dotzler 6). Total Fouls—Wichita St. 15, Creighton 13. A—17,954. A—17,954.